Down and out - what has gone wrong for the West Indies?

West Indies’ lone frontline spinner Akeal Hosein hasn’t been able to make much of an impact against the star-studded Indian batting line-up. And that is hurting the side.

West Indies’ players celebrate after getting rid of Suryakumar Yadav in the second ODI on Wednesday. Nicholas Pooran was impressed by the performance of his bowlers but the lack of a frontline spinner - barring Akeal Hosein - on the slow surfaces of Ahmedabad isn’t helping.   -  PTI

West Indies has an impressive batting line-up and an equally powerful bowling department, but it hasn’t been able to make much of an impact against India in the One-Day International series so far. One wonders what has gone wrong for the touring party - has it failed to read the conditions, or is it that it has been unable to come up with a full-proof strategy?

Batter and stand-in captain for the second ODI, Nicholas Pooran, believes that in the last couple of games, his team has not only failed to bat well but also “in some situations, were not aware of what’s best” for the team.

That, to some extent, explains why the team, which has some of the biggest names of world cricket, has looked so mediocre against the Indian team. Arriving in India days after a T20I series win against England in the Caribbean, the West Indies team has found itself in the woods trying to adjust to the conditions in Ahmedabad, where the wicket has been rather slow.

Even though Pooran is “very impressed” with the way the bowlers performed in the second ODI, it is a fact that a lack of genuine spinner has hurt the team. Jason Holder, the pace ace, too, has asked the fans and other cricket enthusiasts to show some faith in Akeal Hosein, who is emerging as a genuine spinner. The reality is that against a star-studded Indian batting line-up, which is very comfortable against spin, Hosein hasn’t been able to make any impact. And that is hurting the side.

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So, even after the fast bowlers strike early, the absence of a quality spinner means that the team is unable to control the game in the middle overs. That has been a major area of concern.

After landing in India, the team management had made it clear that it would be important for the top-batters to stay at the crease for 50 overs, but in the first couple of games, West Indies top and middle-order had an abysmal outing.

No Plan B

“Where we went wrong? Well, we kept losing wickets after developing a partnership, especially losing soft wickets. Every time someone looked set, we had a wicket… The top five or six batters did not put up their hands, and…” Pooran explained after losing the second match.

Touring the sub-continent has always been a challenge for the overseas teams, but thanks to the Indian Premier League, most players now have a clear idea about the conditions. And that’s why it is more surprising that West Indies hasn’t been able to come up with a Plan B. After all, the likes of Kieron Pollard and Jason Holder play regularly in the IPL.

With the IPL auction lined up for the weekend, a total of 34 West Indies players will go under the hammer, but with the team’s poor show in India, it remains to be seen whether the 10 franchises put their money on untested or lesser known West Indian talents - something they have done in the past.

After conceding the series rather meekly, Pooran said that the team “need to continue to be aggressive.” But the cricket fraternity believes that going forward, it is important that the team identifies its errors and works on them, because in the end, it’s the game that matters. Big talks and statements can wait.

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